Future Cars: DaimlerChrysler

More of TCC's Future Cars






An anonymous tip to TCC says a Chrysler Imperial concept will be shown off in Detroit at the January auto show , reviving the nameplate for the most luxurious Chrysler vehicles that died away in the 1990s. Drawn off the 300C body, the stretched-wheelbase Imperial concept is said to evolve the 300C in a Rolls Phantom direction-much as the current 300C has been dubbed the "baby Bentley."

2007 Chrysler Aspen2007 Chrysler Aspen

Here's one more NAIAS scoop: Chrysler's upscale version of the Dodge Durango, to be sold as the Aspen . We expect to see the production version of this luxury SUV in January at the Detroit Auto Show, and in dealer showrooms sometime next fall.





2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser2005 Chrysler Firepower concept2005 Chrysler Firepower conceptWill Chrysler go ahead with a Viper spin-off? It hasn't been confirmed, but it seems likely that the Firepower from the recent auto-show season will be approved. Under the hood of the concept vehicle lurks a 6.1-liter, 425-horsepower version of the well-received Chrysler HEMI. It would drive the Viper-derived sports car from 0-60 mph in under 4.5 seconds and hit a top speed estimated at 174 mph.


2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible2008 Chrysler Sebring ConvertibleThe new Sebring convertible will ride atop a platform penned by Mitsubishi, but will be powered by Chrysler's own engines and will not be a Lancer clone. The Sebring sedan is expected to arrive in the fall of 2006, and the convertible - shown here - should be at dealerships in the spring of 2007, as an early 2008 model. The ragtop shown on this test mule is a fake: the real vehicle will sport a hardtop convertible roof. The Sebring will be built at Chrysler's Sterling Heights, Mich., plant.



COMING: New mid-size sedans will be spun from the new Neon replacement. Replacements for minivans are due after 2007.



2006 Dodge Challenger2006 Dodge ChallengerA new concept coupe to be shown at the Detroit auto show in January will take the name of Challenger. The long-expected two-door will take on the Ford Mustang directly with a chassis derived from Chrysler's 300C/Magnum twins, along with a 425-hp version of the HEMI V-8 in the most thrilling versions. Chrysler is expected to show the car as a concept at the show, but insiders suggest the vehicle will be in production as early as 2009 on a new version of the 300C platform.


2005 Dodge Caliber Concept2005 Dodge Caliber ConceptThe Caliber will appear in U.S. showrooms in early 2006 as the replacement for the Neon sedan. The five-door Caliber is a striking hatchback with global intentions; Dodge says the vehicle is what it's planning for worldwide markets as the Dodge name is about to be brought to Europe. The concept sports the crosshair Dodge grille atop a C-segment chassis that's shod with 19-inch wheels. No powertrain has been announced but Chrysler officials reference the coming range of global four-cylinders as potential powerplants for a production Caliber. Dodge's planned introduction into the European market is scheduled for 2006.


2005 Dodge Nitro concept2005 Dodge Nitro conceptThe Nitro SUV sported about the auto-show circuit will become a production reality, Dodge says. The Dodge version will be the first mid-size SUV for the brand that pioneered the mid-size truck segment with the Dakota. A few inches longer than today's Jeep Liberty, the Nitro shares much of the Liberty 's mechanicals and is expected to get its 3.7-liter V-6 engine and four-wheel-drive systems. 






2007 Jeep Wrangler2007 Jeep Wrangler

Detroit's inhospitable weather in January has never prevented the auto show from going on - even in the blizzard year of 1999. But few automakers dare to take their displays out of the show hall - much less outside - due to the city's subfreezing temperatures during the media days. But Jeep is bucking that trend: the brand that crashed its Grand Cherokee through a plate-glass window in a Detroit debut will build a mountain across the street from Cobo Hall and stage the debut of the new Wrangler two-door and the Jeep Compass on the man-made creation outside of Cobo, the Detroit News reports. The display dodges the creative limitations of Cobo Hall while bringing the display in line with the Camp Jeep displays set up at other auto shows on the circuit, including Chicago and New York. The News reports that the hill will rise opposite Cobo Hall in the forecourt of the Hotel Pontchartrain, and will be created by Mars Advertising of Pontiac, Mich.



2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class

Mercedes-Benz will show the new GL-Class sport-ute at the Detroit show, the company confirmed on Thursday. The name of the new full-size SUV hints at the legendary G-Class that will be going into its 26th year of production-but while the GL is a successor to the G-Class, Mercedes also plans to keep the G-Class alive until 2009.

The wheel base of the GL-class measures 121.1 inches; it sits 200.4 inches long, is 75.6 inches wide and 72.4 inches tall. The GL-Class can accommodate seven passengers on three rows of seats. The third row has 32 inches of leg room and 38.5 inches of head room. When that row is not in needed, one or both of the split-bench seats can be fully automatically lowered to create a flat floor. Luggage space measures 43.8 cubic feet when the third row is not in use and can be expanded to 75.1 cubic feet.

Engine choices depend on the market where the GL is sold. There are two diesel engines, the 320 CDI V-6 with 224 hp and the 420 CDI V-8. The GL 450 will be available with a 4.6-liter V8 with 340 hp and the GL 500 will come with the 388 hp V-8. AMG versions are expected. All engines are teamed with a seven-speed automatic transmission.

The new Mercedes-Benz will be equipped with 4Matic full time all-wheel drive, ADS adaptive damping, standard air suspension and Airmatic automatic leveling, as well as Trailer Stability Assist (TSA). Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR) and off-road ABS will help the driver in rough terrain.

Just like the ML- and R-Class vehicles, the new GL-class will be built in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Mercedes expects to sell 70 percent of GL-Class production in North-America, where it will go on sale in spring.-Henny Hemmes


2007 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class2007 Mercedes-Benz CL-ClassCOMING: For the 2008 model year, Mercedes will have at least two new vehicles. The Mercedes CL will be shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 2006, and will go on sale shortly afterwards. Slightly bigger and with a more aggressive stance, features may include drive-by-wire, an automatic lane guidance system and active steering, as well as parking assist cameras in the side mirrors and front grille. Engine offerings are expected to include a new 480-hp direction-injection 5.5-liter V-8 for the new CL550, with the CL600 equipped with the current 5.5-liter V-12 twin-turbo. The AMG version will be powered by a normally aspirated 500-hp 6.3-liter V-8.


2008 Mercedes-Benz C-ClassAnd finally, the entry-level four-door, the C-Class is being revamped for the 2008 model year. The next generation C-Class will arrive in the 2007 calendar year, followed twelve months later by the wagon version. The rear-wheel-drive sedan will be the first powered with Benz' KDI EVT (electronic valvetrain without camshafts; supercharged and direct-injected) engines, and will incorporate other new technologies including the third-generation 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. But as independent and modern as the new C-Class looks, it will be sharing even more component-wise with E- and S-Class models.



Smart's U.S. plans are on hold, with the announcement that development of the formore SUV has been halted.

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